Why Weight Watchers Made Me Fatter


You may be disappointed to find that my second experience with Weight Watchers wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the first.  By the time I landed back at a meeting in 2004 I had grown (literally and figuratively) and the program had too.

I found the 17lbs I lost in my first cycle and an additional 11 in the year and a half since we first met, so, by all accounts at this point I did have extra fat to lose on my body.

I was more stable emotionally and working at bettering myself personally and professionally.

I was just “off-plan” is all. <– Click to tweet and share

I just needed the sensible, sane, stable approach from Weight Watchers back in my life to get myself “back on track”.

Weight Watchers had changed a bit too in our time apart.  They had recently introduced the Flex Points system, where they basically allotted you an entire extra day worth of points each week to use on special occasions OR as a few more hundred calories to eat each day.  You were no longer encouraged to bank Points to eat out once a week (let’s be real though, that meal happened at home, ALONE).

Apparently someone at headquarters got the memo that people were starving and miserable. 

The leaders at my meeting did make sure to stress that you didn’t HAVE to eat the Flex Points each week, or ever, if you didn’t find yourself needing them.  Only if you felt like cutting yourself.  I totally made up that last part.

Unfortunately, even with the extra Points I was advised to eat due to my weight gain and the new caloric parameters of the Flex Points program I was still fucking starving at 1400 or so calories a day.

BUT!  They had an actual slider for Activity Points now too (yes, this is still before the internets)…so all I needed to do to eat more every day was workout for at least 30 minutes.

Boom, another Just 2 Points bar.   

Mmmmm good.  I was hoping to track down an ingredients list for those vile little bars but they are no longer on the market.  Deep down I’m secretly glad I didn’t find it.

Boom, another 8 Point piece of pizza.

Of course I took this new Activity Points facet of the program to the extreme because it is my nature to be extreme, especially when I feel desperate.  And make no mistake about it, each and every time I started this program and ANY other diet program I was desperate.  Desperate enough to admit to myself, and to the people in my life, that I needed help.  Desperate enough to try to get it.

Some days I was logging 180+ minutes of exercise, which wouldn’t be a problem if I actually enjoyed any of it but I didn’t.

It was never about finding something to do that was active that I enjoyed.

It was always about how many calories I could burn.  Always about the carrot I was chasing and the stick I was avoiding.  Never about finding a love and respect for my body, always about finding more Points.

So f*cking hungry!

There was a lot of talk of maximizing your Points in that version of the program…if you could have one slice of ultra-low fat plastic cheese for 1 point or two slices for 1 Point because of the way they were calculated, have two!  Delicious!

Fruit was still assigned Point values at this time.

The Weight Watchers line of ready to eat Smart Ones and various bread/cookie/snack cake/chocolate products was just starting to take market share in Canadian grocers and someone had found and tried some new Weight Watchers food-like product and lived to tell the tale at every single meeting.  Low calorie, low fat (or both) frankenfood was appearing everywhere, and people were literally eating it up.  People all over were buying in to the myth that if you (as a woman) could only just consume 1200 calories a day you would finally be skinny, worthy, and happy.

The weight loss/diet companies that were pushing their own food were leading the 1200-calorie dogmatic charge by offering filler “foods” full of chemicals and garbage to occupy your time and your stomach space while you starved yourself to death.  

The thesis was still the same though: assign your food and exercise an arbitrary “value” based on our magic formula focused heavily on quantity of calories over quality, log it in our proprietary journals, weigh in, stay on plan, stay on track, stay on Weight Watchers forever and ever and ever.  You can check out any time you like but you never really get to leave.  And you and your open wallet are always welcomed back with open arms.

I only lasted about 10 weeks on the program this time around, just enough to get into this dress for a friend’s wedding.


At least this time I had resigned myself to the fact that maintaining such a low caloric intake was not sustainable and I would likely gain the weight back.

 I still hadn’t learned my lesson, so when I did gain the weight back, I did the program one more time.  Click here to make sure you don’t miss the final installment!

This is my experience, I would love to hear about yours.  Please share this if it resonates or you have a friend or family member you think might relate.

Thank you for reading!


  • Holly

    November 10, 2015

    I know exactly what you are saying. I think the problem is the program is too low fat. Filling up on vegetables when I’ve been on a five mile run is simply not sustainable. I think it might work better for people that get a lot of points because they weigh a lot, but the minimum is just too restrictive. I think it lends itself to binge eating.

    • Amber

      November 10, 2015

      I think you’re right Holly. The low fat/calorie recommendations coupled with how unsatisfying actually eating foods with fat removed is, are a recipe for binging, for sure. 🙂